Kyle Rittenhouse Acquitted of All Charges

On November 19, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges for killing two and injuring another in August 2020. His acquittal has created controversy and mixed feelings in an already tense nation . 

In the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, unrest engulfed Kenosha, Wisconsin after footage of the shooting went viral. Protest turned violent by the end of the first day and Kenosha was soon put under a state of Emergency. Civilian militias formed to protect private businesses from looting. Among them was 17-year-old Rittenhouse who lived 20 miles away in Illinois, but often stayed with his father and friends in Kenosha where he had a job as a lifeguard. Rittenhouse owned a legally procured AR-15 style assault rifle he recently sold to his friend, Dominick Black, who was with him moments before the shooting. 

The Shooting

Rittenhouse along with other armed individuals appeared on multiple films and photographs from August 25.  He was guarding a car dealership hours before the incident while interviewed by A Daily Caller reporter. When Rittenhouse was asked why he was there he responded, “So, people are getting injured, and our job is to protect this business. Part of my job is also to help people. If there is somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle, because I have to protect myself, obviously. I also have my med kit.”

Near midnight, Rittenhouse was approached by an aggressive group, including Joseph Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum threw a bag of toiletries at Rittenhouse then charged him yelling he’s going to kill him. Rittenhouse shot him four times in the groin, back, and hand. He runs away from the crowd towards officers while calling Black when Anthony Huber hits him with a skateboard and tackles him. He shoots Huber once in the chest then aims his rifle at Gaige Grosskreutzin because he had a Glock handgun. Grosskreutzin at first puts his hands in the air. He then aimed at Rittenhouse who responded by shooting him in the arm.

Police ignored Rittenhouse as he walked towards them with his hands up. He turned himself in an hour later in Illinois. 

Who are the Deceased?

Rosenbaum, Grosskreutzin, and Huber all had a history of criminality and witnesses testified they attacked Rittenhouse first after he attempted to avoid confrontation. Rosenbaum was on suicide watch hours before. He had spent 12 years in prison for child molestation in Arizona where he had multiple disciplinary infractions. Huber had multiple domestic abuse incidents, one against his brother. Grosskreutzin has burglary and probation violation charges. His concealed carry permit was out-of-date the day of the incident. Grosskreutzin, a free-lance paramedic, testified he attacked Rittenhouse because he thought he was an active shooter.

Rittenhouse’s verdict has highlighted growing division in the country . Protests broke out after the verdict claiming his actions would embolden vigilantism and highlight disparities in the justice system. Right wing individuals claim he is a hero who was protecting private property and exercising self defense.